THE AHOY AIR TREE ("OIAOOOEEE", "OHA-OOY")

APPEARANCE - TERRITORY - USAGES - REPRODUCTION - MYTH/LORE

The strange, tough little Ahoy Air Tree ("Oiaoooeee" or "Oha-ooy" in the Browniin tongue) grows right at the top of mountains on rocky, soilless slopes that no other plant can survive on. Its roots donít burrow into soil, as there isnít any, but instead cling directly to solid rock with hundreds of tiny suckers. The wild variety grows only on one particular peak in the Rimmerins Range: Sorceressís Peak, a mountain that borders the Vale of Brownies. The domesticated trees are most common in that Vale too, although can also be found wherever a life mage is practicing their craft. As they donít need soil, and can be trained to grow around whatever small pebble is available, they make ideal living staffs for these particular magic users.

Appearance. The Ahoy Air Tree is a delicate, pale-skinned tree which, in its wild state at least, never grows much beyond dwarven hip height. It seems to avoid wind damage simply by providing as little resistance as possible, with widely spaced branches and tiny, petal-like leaves of a pale bright green. Every little breeze lifts these little green jewels, making them dance and pirouette in a wave of movement. The tree also avoids growing right on the top of the peaks where the wind and rain are strongest, and instead chooses the sheltered nooks and crannies that the rock faces offer.

The thick main roots snake around whatever rock is below it, sticking to the smooth surface below with tiny little suckers no bigger than a Browniesí little finger. Hundreds of much finer roots then grow upwards out of these thick ones, creating a white hair-like mesh around the base of the tree. Brownie folklore says that the plant uses this net to capture the spirits that leave a body when it dies, ensnaring them on their search for their spirit home. It is easy to believe that such a fine net is used to catch something unseen, as what other use could it have?

Domesticated Oha-ooy rarely meet even this moderate height. The tree will only grow as large as its rock base allows it, so the Llaoihrr Brownies force them to grow on small pebbles, thus limiting their size to between 10 and 15 nailsbreaths. As the wood itself is very light, this makes a very useable staff for a life mage. These domesticated trees are generally slightly stockier with fewer, smaller leaves in comparison to their wild cousins. After generations of enforced tininess this size seems to have been ingrained into the trees, and domesticated ones will stay at about two fores even if they are left to their own devices.
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Territory. The wild Oha-ooy grows only on the topmost slopes of Sorceressís Mountain, not quite on the windswept tops, but just below the peak itself. Here, above the tree line, a second little forest flourishes, shorter and more open than the jungle below. As this area is almost impossible to reach unless you can fly, the trees are largely undisturbed. There is a Llaoihrr settlement further down the mountainside on the edge of the lower forest, who have befriended the nysl dragons which inhabit this area. Dragon and Brownie teams head out each summer to collect some of the wild seeds.

Most other Llaoihrr Brownies cultivate their own domesticated crops, so you can find this version of the tree all over the Vale of
Brownies. They are also becoming more common in Milkengrad as the improved contact between them and the Llaoihrr has allowed more and more Milken to become life mages too. Return to the top

Usages. As mentioned before, the Oha-ooy is used by life mages as a living staff, particularly those of the Llaoihrr tribe. The reason they choose this particular tree is simply that life magic can only be used or stored in living things, and this tree can be taken anywhere they wish. A mage can infuse the little tree with life magic and it will store it until the mage needs it. Normally an increase of life force would cause a plant to grow very quickly, but the Oha-ooy's growth is limited by the size of the pebble beneath it so it simply stores it.

In an effort to decrease the weight of the staff, Brownies sometimes use a piece of Mica instead of a rock. The substance isnít quite as hard wearing, and they must be quite careful to avoid cracking, but it is much lighter and also quite pretty.

The seeds that mature and ripen at the height of the summer sunshine are also rich in goodness and very tasty. Some Llaoihrr Brownies believe that eating the seeds of the Oha-ooy can be very dangerous, as they can take on the attributes of the spirits they absorb and pass them on to the person that eats them. Unless you can be sure that the spirits werenít evil, and you never can, anyone who eats them runs the risk of becoming tainted and evil themselves.
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Reproduction. As its mountain home is rarely warm enough for insects to pollinate the Oha-ooy, its flowers seem to be designed to attract some of the many small birds that inhabit the Vale. In late spring they produce lots of large red trumpet-shaped flowers of just the right shape for a small bird like an aelirel or coa-coa to poke its head into and get a dose of sticky pollen on its neck and throat. It then goes to another flower on another plant, and deposits the pollen there, just like an insect would.

Unlike other flowers, the petals do not fall from the flower as the seed matures. Instead, they remain fixed on the tree until the seeds are mature, which doesnít happen until the summer heat is at its hottest. Then, almost simultaneously, the seed pods at the bottom of the flowers begin to smoke and then, suddenly, shoot the whole flower head away from the tree up to a range of a couple of peds. The flower lands and rolls to a stop. Now, in the strong sun the petals quickly begin to decay, providing an excellent start for the sprouting shoot until it can produce the mesh of thin roots it seems to need to survive.
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Myth/Lore. No one really knows why the Oha-ooy has no need for soil, whilst every other plant does. As may have already been mentioned, there are many
Brownie stories that tell of spirits being caught and consumed by the fine roots, often causing the plant to take on parts of their personality. One of the more popular tales tells of a life mage's staff which grew so powerful through repeated use that it developed a monstorous personality of its own, along with a nasty habit of consuming the spirits of anything that touched it. In the end the huge, rampaging staff was only stopped by a clever little Yellowbark Brownie who managed to lure it into a trap and burn it, destroying the staff and releasing the spirits to seek their places in the afterlife. Of course there is no proof whatsoever to these fanciful tales, but they are very useful for preventing the michevious youngsters from going near the mage's precious staffs! Return to the top

 Date of last edit 16th Burning Heavens 1671 a.S.

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